Alumna to receive Appalachian Advocate award

Thursday, March 15, 2018

In 1881, the first member of the Moore family, Ira Corwin Moore, enrolled in Fairmont State Normal School. More than 135 years later, the family continues to be closely connected to Fairmont State University and the culture and heritage of Appalachia.  

On April 21, Phyllis Wilson Moore, the grand daughter-in-law of Ira Corwin Moore and Fairmont State alumna, will be presented the 2018 Women of Appalachia Project (WOAP) Appalachian Advocate Award. The award is given yearly to a woman who has dedicated herself to enhancing the wellbeing of Appalachian culture, Appalachian women’s health, Appalachian families and Appalachian land issues. WOAP is sponsored by Ohio University Multicultural and Women’s Center.

A native of Pennsylvania, Phyllis Wilson Moore met James Moore at Fairmont State while she was taking nursing classes through Fairmont General Hospital on the college campus and Jim was a Fairmont State student. She became a registered nurse in 1956.

In 1985, Phyllis Moore began to study the multicultural history of West Virginia as a hobby, which mushroomed into a major research project and inspired her to return to Fairmont State to study literature. Moore said she learned a great deal from faculty members, Dr. Jack Wills, Dr. George Byers and Dr. Judy P. Byers. In fact, Dr. Judy P. Byers’ support of the research project led to an informal collaboration between them. Phyllis Moore graduated from Fairmont State with a Regent Bachelor of Arts degree in 1990.

The Moores continued work on the project. Phyllis Moore identified and reviewed the literature, surveyed and interviewed authors, obtained materials and memorabilia, visited sites and developed programs. James Moore served as computer specialist and creator of PowerPoint presentations, created posters and bookmarks, was a photographer and a chauffeur. Phyllis Moore served as project director for the first West Virginia Literary Map, which was released in 2005 and illustrates West Virginia’s literary mile markers and related sites. Copies of the map are available today through the Folklife Center at

The donated collection focuses on the literature included on the literary map, but it also features poetry and a broad range of nonfiction related to the history of the state and the Civil War. The collection includes books, archives, photographs, personal interviews with authors, correspondence and other related research and scholarship.

In 2009, the Moores signed an agreement to donate the Moore West Virginia Literary Collection to the Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center and Fairmont State.

The Folklife Center is dedicated to the identification, preservation and perpetuation of our region’s rich cultural heritage, through academic studies, educational programs, festivals and performances and publications.